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Abstract: Behavioral interview questions are questions that deal with specific circumstances from the candidate’s professional experience. Hiring managers like to ask them at job interviews to get more ideas about how a candidate deals with stressful situations. They assess the applicant’s problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills.
You’ve made it to the next round.
You got past the screening process with a strong cover letter and resume, but there’s still a job interview to ride through.
You might be a bit nervous… a bit anxious, but that’s easy to overcome—preparing can help you feel more confident and ease your nerves, so make sure you do just that.
Find out how to get ready, learn the most common behavioral interview questions, and see the best answers to each. This will help you formulate your own answers that you will deliver with confidence and get on that payroll by Monday.
You can do it.
In this guide, you’ll find:
- 15 examples of behavioral questions with answers.
- The best ways to prepare for these types of questions.
- A step-by-step guide to win the interview.
- Reasons why certain questions are asked during an interview and what recruiters really want to know.
Land more interviews with a resume that’s tip-top.
If only you could have a practice run of your next job interview...
With us, you can. Find out exactly how to answer the toughest interview questions. Practice your responses until you're sure they're perfect. Find your confidence, ace your interview, and land your dream job!Get ready for your interview
Check out our other articles with expert interview advice:
- Situational Interview Questions
- Phone Interview Questions
- How to Answer "Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?"
- How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself" in a Job Interview
- Best Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Still not landing any interviews? Craft a resume that’s sure to get you through the doors:
- Customer Service Resume
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- Best Resume Examples for All Jobs
Before we move on to specific question and answer examples, let’s briefly touch on how to prepare for a job interview.
How to Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions?
Job interviews are like dentist appointments… you know they’re important, but you hate to go.
Well, luckily, unlike going to the dentist, you can actually prepare for job interviews.
Unfortunately, there is no way of telling the future and knowing exactly what kind of questions the recruiter will ask.
We can do some guesswork and work with the information that you already have:
So, here’s what you can do right before the interview:
Preparing For Behavioral Job Interview Questions
- Research the company and the role in detail.
- Thoroughly analyze the job description to have a better sense of what exactly the employer is looking for.
- If you can, find out who your interviewer is.
- Prepare for different types of questions.
- Think about previous job experiences that you may want to address during the interview.
- Prepare a few questions for the interviewer.
Okay, let’s move on then.
So—behavioral interview questions entail the interviewer asking you about how you’ve handled certain work situations in the past.
These are likely to come up in almost all job interviews, as they provide a great opportunity for you to showcase your soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership, emotional intelligence, and people skills.
The Best Method for Answering Behavioral-Based Interview Questions
Chances are you’ve already heard of the STAR method for acing a job interview.
So just to summarize: STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Here’s a short run-through of all the steps:
How to Use the STAR Method to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions
- Situation: Start by briefly describing the circumstances you found yourself in.
Example: I was asked to change a 100-participant company Christmas event venue 10 days before the set date.
- Task: Describe what the end goal (purpose) was in this situation.
Example: My manager tasked me with coordinating a venue change along with all other contractors involved: catering, DJ, decorating services, etc.
- Action: What did you do in response to the problem?
Example: I did extensive research on local venues that could hold such a big event last minute, negotiated the contract, payment terms and coordinated with service providers.
- Result: What were the results of your actions? Did you manage to solve the problem?
Example: I was able to coordinate everything on time, even though the only location available for that date was outside of town. I managed to arrange transport for all attendants without going over budget.
See how that works?
The STAR method gives a comprehensive overview of the situation, so you don’t leave off any important details, and the recruiter will have a better understanding of your personality and abilities.
Expert Hint: Getting familiar with this formula will help you structure your answers to any behavioral interview question (unless it’s a very specific programming or engineering question).
15 Top Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers
As promised, here are 15 most common behavioral interview questions:
1. Tell me about a time you failed at a job. How did you handle it?
Interviewers like to ask this question to find out if you take responsibility and don't make excuses for failures. So show what you gained from the experience and how you’ve used it to become better at your job.
2. Tell me about a time you initiated a project.
This question tests your competency and ability to initiate things independently. When answering, include strong action words like managed, organized, developed, and launched.
3. Give me an example of a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?
When asking this type of question, the interviewer wants to find out if you are capable of growth and learning. So make sure to concentrate on the results of what you did to fix the mistake.
4. Share an example of a time when you failed to meet an agreed deadline. How did you deal with it?
Nobody’s perfect and there will be times when deadlines are missed. The interviewer wants to know how you deal with this type of situation. Do you blame others, or do you take responsibility?
Talk about a situation when you missed a deadline, and explain what lesson you took away from it. What are you doing to keep it from happening again?
5. How do you handle a heavy workload?
No matter what the job is, there are always times when the work piles on. When asking this question, a potential employer wants to know how you prioritize your work. Can you stay calm in a heavy-workload environment?
6. Describe your experience in giving presentations to large groups of people.
Some jobs require you to regularly speak in front of a group of people. Generally, the higher the level of the position, the greater the need for communication and presentation skills. Describe a successful public-speaking situation you found yourself in.
7. Tell me about your proudest career moment.
Discussing your professional achievements in an interview demonstrates how efficient you are in your job and what you value and what motivates you. Share a moment when you felt extremely proud of yourself.
8. Tell me about a time when you had a difficult client interaction.
It's common for interviewers to ask job candidates to describe a time when they had to deal with a difficult client or customer. When answering, you should focus on highlighting your conflict resolution strategies and professionalism in tense situations. What actions did you take in your past jobs to deal with these stressful situations?
9. Share an example of a moment when you completely disagreed with a manager. What did you do?
While this question can feel awkward to answer, it’s important that you admit that a conflict has existed in the past. Your answer should explain how you approach challenging situations with superiors. Share an example of a time when you disagreed with a supervisor and how you were able to resolve that conflict. Your answer should demonstrate genuineness, loyalty, emotional maturity and responsibility.
10. Give me an example of a time you had to work closely with someone you didn’t get along with.
Are you a team player? It’s impossible to get along with everyone, and there will be many situations when you’ll have to work with someone who is difficult. The interviewer wants to know how well you work with people despite differing personalities and quirks.
The recruiter is looking for a few things in your answer: authenticity, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal skills.
11. Describe a time you were asked to learn something new quickly.
No matter what job it is, there will be times when you’ll need to think out of the box or to quickly learn something new. The interviewer wants to know how comfortable you are with high-speed learning and unexpected adjustments.
Respond to the question with a specific example that shows you are open to learning opportunities. Describe a time you had to learn a new technology, approach, or skill.
12. Tell me about a time you had to delegate work across an entire team.
Even though the answer to this question should demonstrate your leadership skills, focus on other people. Did you give someone a job in order for them to develop a skill? Were you successful at helping others grow as employees?
13. Tell me about a time when you had to deliver bad news to someone?
Nobody likes to break bad news. Unfortunately, in some jobs it’s inevitable. It’s essential to mention that you plan on rehearsing your answer and that you show compassion when delivering bad news.
14. Describe your most challenging project.
All jobs have their challenges. That’s why it’s important to show your future employer that you welcome them. Explain what ‘challenging’ means to you and how your skills helped you to successfully finish it.
15. Can you describe a time when you had to persuade someone?
The ability to persuade someone to agree with your plan has always been a top leadership and communication skill. When answering, describe what techniques you used to convince someone who initially disagreed with you to follow your recommendation.
Expert Hint: The most important thing to remember is to answer your questions truthfully and with confidence. Studies show that 39% of candidates get rejected due to low confidence level and lack of eye contact.
Now you know everything about behavioral interview questions and how to answer them, so—
Smile, keep your head up, and go get them, tiger!
When preparing for your job interview:
- Get acquainted with the most common behavioral interview questions.
- Use the STAR method to answer these questions.
- Think about your past work and educational experience to try to find some examples.
- Answer truthfully and confidently.
Thanks for reading! Still not sure about the best ways to answer behavioral interview questions? Need more info on what are behavioral interview questions and how to prepare your responses? Drop us a line in the comments below, we'll be happy to chat!